American Patrol craft
|Type:||Patrol craft (Eagle)|
|Completed||1919 - Ford Motor Company, Detroit MI|
|Owner||United States Navy|
|Date of attack||23 Apr 1945||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-853 (Helmut Frömsdorf)|
|Position||43° 33'N, 70° 10'W - Grid BA 97|
|Complement||62 officers and men (49 dead and 13 survivors).|
|History||Completed in October 1919 as submarine chaser USS Eagle No. 56. On 17 Jul 1920, reclassified as patrol craft USS PE-56. On 28 Feb 1942, the vessel picked up the survivors of USS Jacob Jones (DD 130) which had been sunk by U-578 (Rehwinkel) earlier that day off Cape May. |
|Notes on event|
About noon on 23 April 1945, USS PE-56 (Lt James Early, USNR) broke in two and sank after a heavy explosion amidships, while towing targets for US Navy bomber exercises 3 miles south-southeast of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The commander, four officers and 44 ratings were lost. One officer and twelve ratings were picked up about 30 minutes later by USS Selfridge (DD 357) which shortly thereafter dropped nine depth charges without result on a nearby sonar contact. U-853 was known to operate in the area, but could not report her success because she was herself lost a few days later. Some survivors reported the sighting of a conning tower and saw the colors of the emblem on U-853.
|Revisions||In June 2001 the US Navy finally changed its assessment of the loss of USS PE-56. The original assessment claimed that the ship had been sunk by a boiler explosion - in stark contrast to what the survivors of the ship reported.|
|On board||We have details of 62 people who were on board.|
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